Grocery clerks arrange canned goods on shelves at a supermarket in Makati City in this undated file photo — PHILIPPINE STAR/RUSSELL PALMA

THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) does not see an increase in the suggested retail prices (SRPs) of basic goods in the near future, an official said.

“We do not see any price increases anytime soon, at least for the BNPCs (basic necessities and prime commodities) in our list,” Trade Undersecretary Ruth B. Castelo told reporters at an event in Taguig City last week.

She said products with pending price hike requests include 20 stock keeping units (SKU), including canned sardines, milk, and salt.    

Manufacturers are seeking price increases for these items due to higher costs for packaging, fuel, logistics, and distribution, as well as foreign exchange volatility.

After peaking at 8.7% in January, headline inflation slowed to 6.6% in April. The April print was the slowest in eight months or since the 6.3% print in August 2022.

For the first four months of the year, inflation averaged 7.9%, higher than the 3.7% seen a year ago.

Asked if the DTI could release an update to the SRP bulletin by August, Ms. Castelo said that it would depend on the inflation trend.

“If there’s going to be a need, maybe (we will release). But you have seen that the price increases have already slowed down. Because of what is happening in the country, of course we need to give some comfort to the consumer, a little breathing room,” she said.

DTI released its latest SRP bulletin last February, which reflected price increases ranging from 45 centavos to P7 for 76 SKUS. The bulletin also showed prices of 141 SKUs were unchanged from the previous SRP bulletin issued in August 2022.   

Among those that saw price increases were canned sardines in tomato sauce, processed milk, coffee 3-in-1 original, noodles, bread, detergent soap, canned meat, candles, and condiments.   

The DTI and other government agencies are mandated to ensure that BNPCs are available to consumers at reasonable prices without denying a fair investment return for legitimate businesses, as provided under Republic Act (RA) No. 7581 as amended by RA 10623 or the Price Act. — R.M.D.Ochave